Business

Suiting up for the short haul

Jennifer Lewington February 12 1979
Business

Suiting up for the short haul

Jennifer Lewington February 12 1979

Suiting up for the short haul

Business

Nursing the aftereffects of an extracted wisdom tooth, Bill Hood, in his new role as Finance Minister Jean Chrétien’s top policy adviser, may face more long-term pain. Stepping in as deputy minister with the dollar hitting a 46-year low of 83.38 cents (U.S.) last week and the explanation for it all by Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey to a parliamentary committee expected this week, Hood and his appointment herald no policy change. As one of the chief architects of current policy, Hood was reportedly passed over when predecessor Tommy Shoyama became deputy in 1975 (and now becomes special constitutional adviser to the prime minister). He was not, say some, top-of-thelist this time, either, for the $58,800to $73,200-salary-range post although others claim he was Chrétien’s first choice.

Other members of the recent shuffle were on the same list: Ian Stewart, who moves from the Privy Council office to deputy minister of energy, mines and resources replacing Mickey Cohen, who becomes deputy minister of industry, trade and commerce.

Hood, 57, is a cautious, conservative and close-lipped official with impeccable credentials. There is, however, suspicion that Hood’s appointment may be just a temporary one to tide the Liberals past the coming election. Hood, it is said, was in line for a post at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, although he maintains, “I’ve never had any offers.” Offsetting the power of the recently created Boqrd of Economic Development will be a major

hurdle for Hood, pushing his “pragmatic rather than doctrinaire views.”

At 43, corporate tax whiz Mickey Cohen spent seven months of 1977-78 being groomed at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A charming but tough in-fighter, Cohen sees himself as a non-interventionist in the marketplace. “I’m not sure government can do it,” he says. “I tend to be market-oriented.” New policy directions are most likely to come from Ian Stewart, the 47-year-old former economic adviser to the Privy Council who played an influential role in the government’s cutbacks of last August. But for the three, amidst the political vagaries of a spring election, settling in and setting out may become look-alike activities. Jennifer Lewington